By Ashley Moss
Just days before a highly anticipated virtual weekend celebration in Garland to honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., members of the NAACP Garland chapter were stunned to find that their Facebook page, which was supposed to host their live events, had been removed.
“They gave us no explanation,” said NAACP member Gwendolyn Daniels. She’s been the coordinator of Garland’s MLK celebrations for 30 years. “Our initial challenge this year was having to cancel our whole weekend of in-person MLK events and create a virtual program instead. But we did it!”
Daniels said that the chapter had no warning or opportunity to fix whatever was wrong with their page—it was just removed. Now left in a bad spot before this weekend’s celebration, the chapter sent an urgent email to Facebook asking for an explanation.
“With only a few days before our program goes live, Facebook has taken our page down,” she said about the upcoming events, which include a Saturday parade and choir concert followed by a Youth Extravaganza on Sunday featuring area church praise dance groups and step teams from Garland high schools. The organization scrambled to find another solution, eventually deciding to broadcast the weekend happenings on their YouTube page.
The social network cited that Facebook pages are often deleted because they do not adhere to Facebook Community Standards, which include a range of guidelines, including censure for having inauthentic administrator profiles, violence, criminal behavior and misinformation, among other nuances.
“Our Community Standards apply to everyone, all around the world, and to all types of content,” read a statement on Facebook dedicated to Community Standards Updates and Protections. “They’re designed to be comprehensive—for example, content that might not be considered hateful may still be removed for violating a different policy.”
“We recognize that words mean different things or affect people differently depending on their local community, language, or background. We work hard to account for these nuances while also applying our policies consistently and fairly to people and their expression.”
Daniels said their page’s deletion seemed to uncannily coincide with the blanket social media crackdown following last week’s siege on the U.S. Capitol.
“Of all times, right before our BIG virtual program this awful thing happened to us,” lamented Daniels. “I am going to personally research this to determine how many other NAACP units were affected by Facebook following the national events over the past week.”
The Garland Unit of the NAACP will commemorate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 16 at 11 am. The theme of this year’s MLK celebration is “Realizing Dr. King’s Dream with PPE (Persistence, Perfection and Excellence)” and the virtual celebration will be shown live on their YouTube page.
For inquiries or more information about this weekend’s events, contact Gwendolyn Daniels (972) 381-5044 and choose option #5 to leave a message.